Children missing education

What is a child missing education?

Children missing from education (CME), refers to all children of compulsory school age who are not on the roll of a school, nor being educated otherwise (privately or in alternative provision for example) and who have been out of any educational provision for a substantial period of time (usually agreed as four weeks or more.)

Whose responsibility is it to ensure a child is not a child missing education?

In 2002 a DFES target was set that by 2005, robust multi-agency systems would be in place in each local authority to identify and track children missing education or at risk of doing so.

This target was set just prior to the publication of the Victoria Climbie Inquiry Report 2003 (Lord Laming) which recommended that front line staff in each of the agencies which regularly come into contact with families with children must ensure that in each new contact, basic information about the child is recorded.

This must include the child’s name, address, age, the name of the child’s carer and the child’s GP.  To support this, the DCSF also required that each local authority has a named individual for children missing from education.

“Our aim is to ensure that every child and young person has the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and no child slips through the net.” DFES “Every Child Matters: Next Steps” 2004

Why children go missing from education

  • Fail to start appropriate provision and hence never enter the education system
  • Failure to complete a transition between providers, for example by being unable or not trying to find a suitable school place after moving between local authorities
  • Do not complete transition between key stages/schools, particularly if parents are unsuccessful with preferred schools
  • A parent/carer that does not alert the local authority of the fact they are resident in Hounslow or does not know how to access education provision
  • Cease to attend, due to exclusion (for example illegal unofficial exclusions) or withdrawal from provision by parents and schools take the children off roll (for example parents have no confidence in the school, behaviour and truancy issues, fresh start, unauthorised leave over 20 school days)
  • Permanent exclusion from schools out of the borough, including independent schools
  • Children on  alternative curriculum arrangements which are not monitored effectively
  • Children who are looked after within family arrangements, unaccompanied from abroad, placed in Hounslow by other local authorities and not known to our looked after children team
  • Children placed in Hounslow by other local authorities without notification eg, temporary housing, safety move and witness protection
  • Let down by system failures between partners where information is not shared regarding children (other education authorities, schools, parent/carers, social care, health, housing, other councils, Home Office, Immigration Office, asylum/refugee dispersal arrangements, temporary accommodation)
  • “Dip in and out” of Elective Home Education at the request of parents/carers

What should I do if I'm concerned about a child?

If you are concerned about a child who is not in education or you are not sure if they are, please contact us using the details below or alternatively, complete a children missing from education referral form.

Download and read the policy 

Contact us

Telephone: 020 8583 2768
Children Missing Education Officer
Children's and Adults' Services
Hounslow House
7 Bath Road

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